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Tragic Helicopter Crash Due to Pilot Texting

By Ross Jurewitz on April 26, 2013

It was about two years ago that a medical helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed into the middle of a farm field near Mosby, Missouri that unfortunately killed 4 people: the pilot, a flight nurse, a flight paramedic, and the patient being transported.  After thorough investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) came to a recent agreement that fatigue and distraction were the primary causes of this helicopter accident.

The 37-year-old pilot, James Freudenberg, only had five hours of sleep before his 12 hour shift that ended in tragedy.  Although Freudenberg was notified at the beginning of his shift that the helicopter was low on fuel, he disregarded fueling the helicopter and did not do appropriate flight checks until it was too late.  Evidence also showed that while Freudenberg was on the ground and during flight, he was constantly text messaging throughout his shift to an off-duty female co-worker/friend.

The pilot sent a total of 25 text messages and received 60 text messages.  Although there were no text messages in the last 11 minutes before the crash, the constant text messaging prior to the accident could have easily kept his mind occupied from his important duties as a pilot.

The dangers of texting and driving have been more prominent for vehicle drivers since there is a clear risk from the amount of other drivers and pedestrians on the road.   Even though the sky is not congested with aircraft traffic, it is still not safe to use cell phones or any other distracting device while flying..  Flying distraction free is just as important, which is why the Jurewitz Law Group encourages, not only car drivers, but also aircraft pilots to be focused while flying.

Ensure the safety of yourself and everyone traveling along through adequate rest and proper attention.  In the unfortunate event of a helicopter accident, make sure to get professional advice from our specialized San Diego aviation accident lawyers at Jurewitz Law Group.

Ross Jurewitz

Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.

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